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How to Clean Absolutely Everything: From cashmere to carpets, and shower stalls to slipcovers, the complete, utterly comprehensive guide

How to Clean Absolutely Everything: From cashmere to carpets, and shower stalls to slipcovers, the complete, utterly comprehensive guide

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How to Clean Absolutely Everything: From cashmere to carpets, and shower stalls to slipcovers, the complete, utterly comprehensive guide

Lunghezza:
535 pagine
3 ore
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Jan 3, 2009
ISBN:
9781908005199
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

How to Clean Absolutely Anything reveals the secrets behind keeping your home immaculately clean. Packed with advice on how to treat kitchen appliances, windows and carpets, as well as clothes, bedding and furniture, it also includes hints on how to fight the hygiene war in specific situations: small children, for instance, or a partner who is confused by the vacuum cleaner. With clear illustrations and plenty of good humour, this book offers good advice for achievable results, and demonstrates the very best way to clean absolutely anything you can think of.

Editore:
Pubblicato:
Jan 3, 2009
ISBN:
9781908005199
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

Yvonne Worth was introduced to the art of cleanliness and efficiency while working in the test kitchens at Good Housekeeping magazine. She has also written several books on health and fitness.

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Anteprima del libro

How to Clean Absolutely Everything - Yvonne Worth

HOW TO CLEAN

ABSOLUTELY

EVERYTHING

FROM CASHMERE TO CARPETS, AND SHOW-STALLS TO SLIPCOVERS, THE COMPLETE, UTTERLY COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE

YVONNE WORTH with AMANDA BLINKHORN

© The Ivy Press Limited 2011

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior permission in writing from the publisher.

THE IVY PRESS LIMITED

210 The High Street

Lewes, East Sussex BN7 2NS

Print ISBN: 978-1-905695-69-0

Digital ISBN: 978-1-908005-19-9

Creative Director PETER BRIDGEWATER

Publisher SOPHIE COLLINS

Editorial Director JASON HOOK

Design Manager SIMON GOGGIN

Senior Project Editor CAROLINE EARLE

Designers WAYNE BLADES AND GINNY ZEAL

Illustrations PETERS & ZABRANSKY AGENCY

Digital Assistant EMILY OWEN

Graphic Artwork JOANNA CLINCH

Every effort has been made to ensure that the instructions given in this book are accurate. However, they are provided for general information only, and you should always read and follow any manufacturer’s instructions and, where appropriate, seek professional advice.

CONTENTS

THE LOST ART OF CLEANING

ABOUT THE HOUSE

A ROUTINE MATTER

KITCHENS

BATHROOMS

BEDROOMS

FLOORINGS

FURNITURE

SPECIFIC SURFACES

LAUNDRY

FROM HATS TO HEELS

THE GREAT OUTDOORS

SHARING YOUR LIVING SPACE

ALLERGENS

A–Z STAIN REMOVAL LIBRARY

HOME CLEANING THROUGH CHEMISTRY

FURTHER READING

USEFUL WEBSITES

THE LOST ART OF CLEANING

‘Begin somewhere. You cannot build a reputation on what you intend to do.’

Cleaning our homes has become a lost art. What was once as automatic as putting the kettle on has turned into something we either farm out, ignore, or turn into a weekly drama, depending on our income and inclination. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. For half the time and none of the money that so many of us devote to the gym, we can transform our homes into clean, comfortable havens that are a delight to live in. This is not about returning to a golden age of domesticity, nor is it about romanticizing what was for our grandmothers a never-ending treadmill of cooking, cleaning and ironing. It is about taking pride in the things we have worked hard for. Why struggle all week to pay the mortgage if your heart sinks every time you catch sight of your kitchen floor? Why lust after a Philippe Starck washbasin if you can’t get the toothpaste off your old one? And why invest in a pair of killer Manolos if you daren’t go out in them in case you get them dirty? Housework has never been less hassle. We have the technology to get the best of both worlds. We can boil wash our Egyptian cotton sheets in the washing machine, air them on the line and a run a steam iron over them in the time it would have taken our grandmothers to strip the bed, stoke the boiler and curse the rain. Why scrub a floor when you can laminate it or sweat over an oven when it can clean itself? This is not a book for those who want to turn back the clock — it’s for those who haven’t got time to muck about. We’ve taken the best tricks of the past and combined them with the quickest modern shortcuts we could find. Sometimes some old newspaper and a bottle of vinegar are all that are required, other times a steam cleaner and some state-of-the-art carpet shampoo are essential. Just because your home smells of beeswax and lemons doesn’t mean you’ve spent all day scrubbing away — it just looks as if you did. Remember, you have nothing to lose but your stains.

ABOUT THE HOUSE

A ROUTINE MATTER

‘nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs.’

HENRY FORD

Less than a century ago, most households followed the same, or similar, weekly cleaning routines. Baking was usually scheduled for the end of the week (after pay day and in time for the weekend), which left the early part of the week as the traditional time for activities such as washing (Monday) and ironing (Tuesday, if the laundry was dry in time). Other household tasks, such as cleaning, dusting, sweeping and scrubbing, were fitted around these and often carried out on a daily basis.

Nowadays, with the numerous appliances, sophisticated gadgets and endless products that are available, coping with housework ought to be much easier and less time-consuming. We all know this isn’t the case. With hectic lifestyles the norm, it can be extremely challenging to find enough time and energy to cope with the demands of keeping a house clean and tidy.

The most effective cleaning routine is the one that you actually do. Most people want to live in a clean house, but don’t necessarily want to do any cleaning. It is essential to find a way of working that suits you and the way you live. Do you find it difficult to get started? Or, once you start, do you find that you become obsessive and can’t stop? Whatever your approach to cleaning, the key is to come up with a system that fits as effortlessly as possible into your personal schedule.

For many people, a few minutes daily maintenance seems to be the most effective method, while some people prefer to do a major blitz, say once a week. Whatever way works best for you, the secret is to get into a routine and to stick to it. This means that you will need to be honest about what you really can achieve on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. It is essential to set yourself goals that are realistic and easy to fulfil, because this will give you the satisfaction, encouragement and confidence to stick to your new cleaning routine.

5 - MINUTE FLASH, 10 - MINUTE FIX-IT

Whether you choose to clean in short, regular bursts or schedule in longer, more intensive sessions, the trick is to keep on top of things. You don’t want to let tasks build up and become overwhelming. Get into the habit of carrying out the small, simple tasks on a regular basis, and they will become automatic, leaving you extra time and energy to cope with your remaining chores — even if you don’t wash up the mugs last thing at night, at least collect them up and put them in the kitchen; recycle newspapers once you’ve finished with them instead of leaving them to pile up; and always put items back in their proper place once you’ve finished with them.

TIME YOUR VACUUM

IT’S ALL IN THE TIMING

Many people find it helpful to set themselves a time limit, rather than complete tasks. Decide upon a length of time and stop whatever you’re doing when the time’s up (choose the right kind of chore, like dusting). You will be amazed at what you can achieve in just a few minutes if you do it regularly.

Get into the habit of using your time efficiently. While you are waiting for the eggs to boil, your bath to run, or an important phone call, get busy instead of bored — clean a window, do some washing-up, polish the table, or empty the bin.

If you prefer to do an occasional blitz, or if extreme measures are called for, then make sure that you don’t take on a task that you are unable to complete. The last thing you want to do is have to stop halfway through and leave the house in more chaos than when you started.

DUSTER BLITZ

SOUND THE ALARM

Got a few minutes to spare? Set a timer or alarm for the amount of time you have available and tackle the fingerprints on the back of your doors and light switches, wipe the front of the fridge, or get out the vacuum cleaner.

CLEANING UP

Always be methodical in your approach to cleaning. Pick a task or two that you know you will be able to complete within the time available or can abandon easily if necessary. Even if you only do a few minutes here and there, you will start to notice the difference in no time.

The following tasks are best dealt with on a daily basis and should only take a short time to complete:

making beds

washing-up

cleaning kitchen surfaces and worktops

putting out the rubbish

cleaning the basin in the bathroom

wiping down the shower or bath

Other tasks may only need addressing on a weekly basis:

laundry

vacuuming

floor cleaning

cleaning the kitchen and bathroom

changing the bed linen

dusting

Certain tasks can be carried out every 4–6 weeks:

cleaning the refrigerator

sweeping out the garage, or any outside areas

polishing windows and mirrors

washing out the kitchen bin

cleaning the skirting boards

CLEARING YOUR CLUTTER

Keeping your house clean is easier and much less time-consuming if you put things away when they’re not in use. If everything has its place then you always know where to find what you need when you need it. Chances are, if you don’t have enough space for everything, then you’ve got too many belongings and it’s time to get rid of some of them! Logically, of course, fewer belongings means that there is going to be less for you to clean and if you clear your clutter, you’ll reduce the build-up of dirt, dust and grime, and the clear surfaces will be much easier to keep clean.

Cupboards and drawers that are kept tidy and organized are much more efficient, as not only will it be easier for you to find and get to what you need, you will also be able to fit more into them in the first place.

CUPBOARD NIGHTMARES

RELEASE YOUR RUBBISH

Dispense with items once you’ve finished with them (e.g. jam jars, magazines, old lipsticks) and always resist any urge to hang on to things ‘just in case’ they might come in useful at some point in the future. They probably won’t and they take up unnecessary space, acting as dirt and dust collectors. Some items simply need to be thrown away, while others can be recycled — if you haven’t read the Sunday paper from last week by now, it’s unlikely that you’re ever going to get round to it. Get rid of it!

CUPBOARD LOVE

THINKING THINGS THROUGH

Need some time out to think things through, or do some problem solving? This may be the perfect opportunity to get on with some cleaning, tidying or decluttering. Some light activity can actually help stimulate the thinking process.

HOOKED UP

To keep items neat and tidy, hang them up instead of storing them on the floor – invest in a few hooks to hold ironing boards, folding chairs, brooms and tools.

FINISH WHAT YOU START

Always complete each task before you move onto the next one. Avoid beginning one task and then becoming distracted and moving on to something else. If you continually find yourself unable to finish tasks, you are obviously setting yourself goals that are too high. Break down these chores into a series of smaller, more manageable tasks. Instead of attempting to clean all the windows, for example, restrict yourself to cleaning two or three. That way you will never be left with ‘unfinished business’ hanging over you.

PROPER PLACES

Allocating specific places to everything makes cleaning things a more straightforward process. It is much easier to put items away if you know exactly where they go and are not having to search for somewhere to store them or stuff them into an already overcrowded drawer or cupboard.

TOOLS OF THE TRADE

Naturally, ideas of what represents an acceptable level of cleanliness and tidiness are bound to vary. Some people must have everything immaculate, while others tolerate an astonishing level of mess. Whatever your personal dirt threshold, having the right tool for the job makes any task much easier.

KITTED OUT

There’s a huge variety of appliances, materials and products around today, all of which are designed to take the grind out of household chores. Always choose tools that are appropriate for your particular living space (in terms of both their cleaning ability and ease of storage) and are simple for you to handle. When choosing a new vacuum cleaner, for example, buy one that is light enough for you to lift and easy to operate. Don’t get talked into buying a model that is too powerful or complex for your needs.

CHOOSE CAREFULLY

CARING FOR YOUR EQUIPMENT

Appliances, tools and equipment need looking after. Care for them properly, and they will last longer and function more efficiently.

Regularly check plugs on all electrical equipment to make sure that no wires have worked loose.

Empty your vacuum or carpet sweeper frequently (or change the bag, if appropriate).

Wipe down the outside of your vacuum every few weeks with a damp cloth that has been wrung out in warm, soapy water.

Check the brushes and wheels of your vacuum cleaner and remove any threads, hairs or dirt particles that may have collected there.

Rinse brooms, brushes and dustpans at least once a month in warm, soapy water, then leave them to dry thoroughly before putting them away.

Don’t stand brooms on their bristles — if possible, hang them up.

Rinse mops after use and allow them to dry.

Replace mopheads and spongeheads once they start to show signs of wear.

Keep all cloths, sponges and scourers as clean as possible as they are a breeding ground for germs — rinse them out after each use and spread or hang them out to dry.

BASIC CLEANING KIT

vacuum cleaner

broom

dustpan and brush

mop and bucket (with strainer)

scrubbing brush(es)

old toothbrush(es)

washing-up brushes

sponges (including the nylon, non-stick variety)

scourers

dusters, cloths and rags

paper towels

polishing cloths

protective gloves

A CLEAN SWEEP

Good-quality brooms, brushes and mops are great for dealing with dirty floors, but from time to time your floors will benefit from a good going over with a bucket of warm, soapy water and a stiff

CAUTION

Remember, always keep all potentially harmful products well away from babies and children. If you are unable to store them out of reach of prying fingers, fix a padlock to the cupboard door.

CLEANING PRODUCTS

The number of modern cleaning appliances is matched by the array of chemical cleaning products on the market nowadays. With their brightly coloured packaging and promises of instant cleanliness, you will be tempted to keep adding to a large collection. You may fully intend to use the product when you buy it, but rarely (or never) actually do, so it ends up at the back of the cupboard gathering dust. Clear out your cleaning cupboard and use up what you already have, then focus on keeping a supply of useful, multi-purpose products (non-chemical, where possible).

MULTI-PURPOSE MAGIC

EASY DOES IT

Even if you choose to resort to heavy-duty cleaners or strong chemicals, use them sparingly. Harsh cleaners can be harmful to the environment and their overuse can deplete our immune systems and give rise to conditions such as asthma and eczema. Frequently, mild cleaners or natural substances such as bicarbonate of soda, vinegar or lemon juice can clean just as effectively.

GREEN AND CLEAN

Don’t throw squeezed lemon halves away. Keep them in the fridge and use them to descale, clean and freshen taps, sinks and plugholes.

CUPBOARD LOVE

Organize your cupboard so that you can find what you need quickly and easily, and always put products back in their allocated place when you have finished with them. If you do not have space to keep cleaning supplies in each area of your house, consider investing in a large plastic bucket that you can carry around with you, filled with cleaning products, protective gloves and a variety of cloths and sponges.

ANTI ANTI?

Anti-bacterial products are not essential, whatever their labels say. Indeed, some people even argue that we overclean nowadays, and the blanket destruction of all bacteria may be counter-productive. Unless you suffer from specific health problems, you do not need to create an absolutely sterile environment and can go easy on the anti-bacterial products. A few bugs never hurt anyone. Indeed, we are not designed to live in a sterile world and a little exposure to some germs may help strengthen our immune systems and improve our ability to fight off illnesses.

BASIC CLEANING MATERIALS

bicarbonate of soda

lemon (or lemon juice)

salt

white vinegar

glass cleaner (optional)

non-abrasive cream cleaner

powdered or abrasive cream cleaner

spray cleaner

liquid or spray polish

detergent

disinfectant

PICK YOUR BASICS

KITCHENS

‘A woman is like a tea bag. You never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water.’

The kitchen and bathroom are the two rooms that usually require the most upkeep. The kitchen is where we prepare and often eat food, and it is essential, therefore, to keep it as clean and germ-free as possible. It may also be the place we do laundry and deal with the rubbish, and perhaps walk in from the garden, bringing in dirt from outdoors.
It can be tempting to rush out of the house in the morning, leaving the kitchen in a state of chaos to be dealt with later. In fact, the best way to keep your kitchen clean and tidy is regular cleaning and maintenance. It can be difficult to know where to start, but try doing a little each day. Begin by clearing up after yourself: wipe up any spills immediately (whether on a worktop, or the floor, or in the fridge); clean up whenever you prepare food; wash up or load the dishwasher after each meal (or at least stack the dirty dishes neatly, leaving pans and dishes to soak if necessary); and wipe all surfaces. Make sure you sweep (or vacuum) the floor and empty the rubbish every day.
To supplement daily maintenance, make up a list of weekly and monthly tasks, such as scrubbing, cleaning the sink, mopping the floor, wiping down the cabinets and doors, cleaning the fridge, the oven and other appliances.
Wear protective gloves where possible, particularly when using harsh cleaners, and make sure you have a good supply of tea towels and dishcloths, so that you always have a clean, dry cloth to hand. Allocate different cloths or sponges to different tasks — don’t use the same one for washing-up that you use for wiping worktops and surfaces, and never use either of these for wiping the floor, however tiny the spill.
Before you go to bed, spend a minute or two doing a final tidy: clear away any mugs, wipe down the draining board and worktops and put out fresh dishcloths and tea towels ready for the next day.

FRIDGES AND FREEZERS

Keeping your fridge and freezer clean and tidy is essential to a well-run kitchen. As they provide storage for fresh foodstuffs, it is vital to keep them spotless and germ-free. Check the contents regularly and get rid of any items that are starting to go off, or are past their use-by date. Don’t wait for food to go mouldy before you dispose of it — be honest with yourself, if you’re not going to use it, throw it out.

A TIDY FRIDGE

CLEANING YOUR FRIDGE OR FREEZER

Clean your fridge every week, preferably when stocks are low, to avoid having fresh food lying around, and tidy and reorganize your freezer every 1—3 months.

Always turn the power off before cleaning or defrosting your fridge or freezer.

Empty the contents into a cooler box if you have one, or a sturdy cardboard box lined with newspaper or a blanket to prevent frozen goods thawing too quickly. Place them in a plastic sack first. In hot weather, you can buy a big bag of ice to pack around the food and keep it chilled.

Avoid using sharp or metal objects to scrape away ice as they may damage the internal surface of your fridge or freezer — it’s best to wait for any build-up of ice to melt naturally. If necessary, use a rubber or pliable plastic spatula

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